[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many questions remain unanswered regarding RNAi-based mechanisms and dsRNA-induced antiviral immune responses in penaeid shrimp. In this study, we report the characterization in the white leg shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei of RNAi pathway associated proteins Lv-Ago 1 and Lv-Ago 2, two members of the Argonaute family of proteins, as well as Lv-sid 1, the first shrimp homologue of Sid-1, a membrane channel-forming protein implicated in the cellular import of dsRNA. To decipher their functional implication in RNAi-related phenomena, we monitored their relative expression following stimulation by specific and non-specific RNA duplexes of diverse length. The findings show that the length of small RNA duplexes plays a critical role in the activation of both RNAi-related and innate antiviral responses. They also suggest that these two mechanisms of antiviral response may activate the same pathway, requiring Lv-Sid 1 and Lv-Ago 2 induction.
Developmental and comparative immunology 11/2010; 34(11):1209-18. · 3.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heavy metals, such as copper, zinc and cadmium, represent some of the most common and serious pollutants in coastal estuaries. In the present study, we used a combination of linear and artificial neural network (ANN) modelling to detect and explore interactions among low-dose mixtures of these heavy metals and their impacts on fundamental physiological processes in tissues of the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Animals were exposed to Cd (0.001-0.400 microM), Zn (0.001-3.059 microM) or Cu (0.002-0.787 microM), either alone or in combination for 1 to 27 days. We measured indicators of acid-base balance (hemolymph pH and total CO(2)), gas exchange (Po(2)), immunocompetence (total hemocyte counts, numbers of invasive bacteria), antioxidant status (glutathione, GSH), oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation; LPx), and metal accumulation in the gill and the hepatopancreas. Linear analysis showed that oxidative membrane damage from tissue accumulation of environmental metals was correlated with impaired acid-base balance in oysters. ANN analysis revealed interactions of metals with hemolymph acid-base chemistry in predicting oxidative damage that were not evident from linear analyses. These results highlight the usefulness of machine learning approaches, such as ANNs, for improving our ability to recognize and understand the effects of sub-acute exposure to contaminant mixtures.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology 11/2009; 155(3):341-9. · 2.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Injection of non-specific dsRNA initiates a broad-spectrum innate antiviral immune response in the Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, however, the receptor involved in recognition of this by-product of viral infections remains unknown. In vertebrates, dsRNA sensing is mediated by a class of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and results in activation of the interferon system. Because a TLR (lToll) was recently characterized in L. vannamei, we investigated its potential role in dsRNA recognition. We showed that injection of non-specific RNA duplexes did not modify lToll gene expression. A reverse genetic approach was therefore implemented to study its role in vivo. Silencing of lToll did not impair the ability of non-specific dsRNA to trigger protection from white spot syndrome virus and did not increase the shrimp susceptibility to viral infection, when compared to controls. In contrast, gene-specific dsRNA injected to specifically silence lToll expression activated an antiviral response. These data strongly suggest that shrimp lToll plays no role in dsRNA-induced antiviral immunity.
Developmental and comparative immunology 08/2009; 33(7):806-10. · 3.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cDNA encoding a masquerade-like serine proteinase homologue (PmMasSPH) from the black tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, has been cloned and characterized. The transcript of PmMasSPH is induced in response to Vibrio harveyi infection. To further characterize the function(s) of the protein, (i) the N-terminal region comprising the glycine-rich repeats and the clip domain, and (ii) the C-terminal SP-like domain of the PmMasSPH were separately cloned into the pET-28b(+) expression vector and transformed into Escherichia coli Rosetta (DE3). The two recombinant proteins were then assayed for various biological functions; proteinase activity, hemocyte adhesion, bacterial binding, bacterial clearance and antimicrobial activity. The C-terminal SP-like domain lacks proteolytic activity but mediates hemocyte adhesion and displays binding activity to the shrimp pathogenic bacterium, V. harveyi and specific binding to the bacterial cell wall component, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The N-terminal region exhibited in vitro antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria. In addition, the in vivo study revealed the opsonic activity of the PmMasSPH protein as shown by a higher bacterial clearance rate of V. harveyi coated with the recombinant proteins as compared with V. harveyi only. The results suggest that the PmMasSPH protein is a multifunctional immune molecule in shrimp defense.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & molecular biology 04/2009; 153(3):236-43. · 1.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crustin antimicrobial peptides, identified in crustaceans, are hypothesized to have both antimicrobial and protease inhibitor activity based on their primary structure and in vitro assays. In this study, a reverse genetic approach was utilized to test the hypothesis that crustins are antimicrobial in vivo in response to bacterial and fungal challenge. Injection of double-stranded RNA specific to a 120-bp region of LvABP1, one of the most prominent crustin isoforms, yielded a significant reduction in the expression of both crustin mRNA and protein within the hemocytes. To test the role of crustins in the shrimp immune response, RNAi was first used to suppress crustin expression and animals were subsequently injected with low pathogenic doses of either Vibrio penaeicida or Fusarium oxysporum. A significant increase in mortality in crustin-depleted animals was observed in animals infected with V. penaeicida as compared to controls, whereas no significant change in shrimp mortality was observed following infection with F. oxysporum.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The need for better control of infectious diseases in shrimp aquaculture and the ecological importance of crustacea in marine ecosystems have prompted interest in the study of crustacean immune systems, particularly those of shrimp. As shrimp and other crustacea are poorly understood from the immunological point of view, functional genomic and proteomic approaches have been applied as a means of quickly obtaining molecular information regarding immune responses in these organisms. In this article, a series of results derived from transcriptomic and proteomic studies in shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) are discussed. Expressed Sequence Tag analysis, differential expression cloning through Suppression Subtractive Hybridization, expression profiling using microarrays, and proteomic studies using mass spectrometry, have provided a wealth of useful data and opportunities for new avenues of research. Examples of new research directions arising from these studies in shrimp include the molecular diversity of antimicrobial effectors, the role of double stranded RNA as an inducer of antiviral immunity, and the possible overlap between antibacterial and antiviral responses in the shrimp.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 12/2008; 128(1-3):110-8. · 1.88 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antimicrobial peptides are an essential component of the innate immune system of most organisms. Expressed sequence tag analysis from various shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) tissues revealed transcripts corresponding to two distinct sequences (LvALF1 and LvALF2) with strong sequence similarity to anti-lipopolysaccharide factor (ALF), an antimicrobial peptide originally isolated from the horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus. Full-length clones contained a 528bp transcript with a predicted open reading frame coding for 120 amino acids in LvALF1, and a 623bp transcript with a predicted open reading frame coding for 93 amino acids in LvALF2. A reverse genetic approach was implemented to study the in vivo role of LvALF1 in protecting shrimp from bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Injection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) corresponding to the LvALF1 message resulted in a significant reduction of LvALF1 mRNA transcript abundance as determined by qPCR. Following knockdown, shrimp were challenged with low pathogenic doses of Vibrio penaeicida, Fusarium oxysporum or white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) and the resulting mortality curves were compared with controls. A significant increase of mortality in the LvALF1 knockdown shrimp was observed in the V. penaeicida and F. oxysporum infections when compared to controls, showing that this gene has a role in protecting shrimp from both bacterial and fungal infections. In contrast, LvALF1 dsRNA activated the sequence-independent innate anti-viral immune response giving increased protection from WSSV infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Penaeidins are a diverse family of two-domain antimicrobial peptides expressed in shrimp. Variation in penaeidin sequence results in functional diversity, which was discovered using synthetic reproductions of native penaeidins. An isoform of penaeidin class 3 from Litopenaeus setiferus (Litset Pen3-4) was synthesized using native ligation and compared directly with the synthetic penaeidin class 4 known to be expressed in the same organism. New antimicrobial activity data are included in this review that emphasize differences in effectiveness that are apparent from a direct comparison of two classes. A novel approach to intact penaeidin analysis is presented in the form of Fourier Transform Ion-Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry, which has implications for the identification of individual penaeidin isoforms without chemical modification or enzymatic cleavage. The new information included in this review helps gather the perspective on relevance of penaeidin diversity to antimicrobial function, the use of synthetic peptides as tools to evaluate specific immune functions and the application of high mass resolution, top-down sequencing methods to the intact analysis of individual penaeidin isoforms.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infectious disease constitutes a major obstacle to the sustainability of shrimp aquaculture worldwide and a significant threat to natural populations of shrimp and other crustacea. The study of the shrimp immune system, including the response to viral infection, has been hampered by a relative lack of molecular genetic information and of tools suitable for high-throughput assessment of gene expression. In this report, the generation of a cDNA microarray encompassing 2,469 putative unigenes expressed in gills, circulating hemocytes, and hepatopancreas of Litopenaeus vannamei is described. The unigenes printed on the microarray were derived from the analyses of 7,021 expressed sequence tags obtained from standard cDNA libraries as well as from libraries generated by suppression subtractive hybridization, after challenging shrimp with a variety of immune stimuli. The general utility of the cDNA microarray was demonstrated by interrogating the array with labeled RNA from four different shrimp tissues (gills, hemocytes, hepatopancreas, and muscle) and by analyzing the transcriptomic response of shrimp to a lethal challenge with white spot syndrome virus. Our results indicate that white spot syndrome virus infection upregulates (in the hepatopancreas) genes encoding known and potential antimicrobial effectors, while some genes involved in protection from oxidative stress were found to be downregulated by the virus.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A microarray focused on stress response and immune function genes of the bottlenosed dolphin has been developed. Random expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were isolated and sequenced from two dolphin peripheral blood leukocyte (PBL) cDNA libraries biased towards T- and B-cell gene expression by stimulation with IL-2 and LPS, respectively. A total of 2784 clones were sequenced and contig analysis yielded 1343 unigenes (archived and annotated at ). In addition, 52 dolphin genes known to be important in innate and adaptive immune function and stress responses of terrestrial mammals were specifically targeted, cloned and added to the unigene collection. The set of dolphin sequences printed on a cDNA microarray comprised the 1343 unigenes, the 52 targeted genes and 2305 randomly selected (but unsequenced) EST clones. This set was printed in duplicate spots, side by side, and in two replicates per slide, such that the total number of features per microarray slide was 19,200, including controls. The dolphin arrays were validated and transcriptomic profiles were generated using PBL from a wild dolphin, a captive dolphin and dolphin skin cells. The results demonstrate that the array is a reproducible and informative tool for assessing differential gene expression in dolphin PBL and in other tissues.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a common virus-associated molecular pattern and a potent inducer of antiviral responses in many organisms. While it is clear that the specific RNA interference (RNAi) response, a phenomenon triggered by dsRNA, serves antiviral functions in invertebrates, innate (non-specific) antiviral immune reactions induced by dsRNA (e.g. the Interferon response) have long been thought to be restricted to vertebrates. Recent work in an underappreciated experimental model, the penaeid shrimp, is challenging these traditional distinctions, by demonstrating the existence of both innate (non sequence-specific) and RNAi-related (sequence-specific) antiviral phenomena in crustacea. Here we discuss the evidence for this bivalent role of dsRNA in the initiation of antiviral responses in shrimp, and present new data that suggest that the antiviral functions of the shrimp RNAi machinery have imposed selective pressures on an evolving viral pathogen. These findings open the door for the discovery of novel mechanisms of innate immunity, and provide a basis for the future development of strategies to control viral diseases in the commercially important penaeid shrimp.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, and the Pacific oyster, C. gigas, are species of global economic significance as well as important components of estuarine ecosystems and models for genetic and environmental studies. To enhance the molecular tools available for oyster research, an international group of collaborators has constructed a 27,496-feature cDNA microarray containing 4460 sequences derived from C. virginica, 2320 from C. gigas, and 16 non-oyster DNAs serving as positive and negative controls. The performance of the array was assessed by gene expression profiling using gill and digestive gland RNA derived from both C. gigas and C. virginica, and digestive gland RNA from C. ariakensis. The utility of the microarray for detection of homologous genes by cross-hybridization between species was also assessed and the correlation between hybridization intensity and sequence homology for selected genes determined. The oyster cDNA microarray is publicly available to the research community on a cost-recovery basis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple small-scale transcriptome studies have been undertaken for various members of the Penaeidae. Penaeid shrimp are important both as members of diverse ecosystems around the world and for their importance as commercial commodities. Of the many shrimps, the most important from this family is the Pacific whiteleg shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, as it is the primary shrimp used in worldwide aquaculture. The sequencing and analysis of 13 656 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from this species is presented. ESTs were derived from multiple tissue-specific cDNA libraries with an emphasis being placed on those tissues with predicted immune function. Assembly of the sequences into non-overlapping clusters yielded 7466 putative unigenes (1981 contigs and 5485 singletons). Multiple approaches were taken to assign putative function to each transcript; sequence homology searches using BLASTX (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool: Translated query versus protein database) of the National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI) GenBank Database and Gene Ontology annotation, and still a significant portion of the shrimp ESTs (62%) had no homology with known proteins in the public databases. The sequence and complete annotation of all ESTs is available at www.marinegenomics.org, a publicly accessible database. In addition to providing the basic resources for microarray construction, transcript profiling, and novel gene discovery, this study constitutes the largest combined analysis of ESTs from any shrimp species and is a prelude to an even larger effort aimed at identifying and depleting highly redundant genes from shrimp cDNA libraries toward the goal of sequencing 100 000 shrimp ESTs.
Integrative and Comparative Biology 12/2006; 46(6):931-9. · 3.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Penaeidins are antimicrobial peptides from shrimp that are constituted by divergent classes of peptide isoforms in an individual organism. Penaeidin sequence variation suggests functional diversity in the host and promises differential activities if applied to treat infections in humans. We have synthesized isoform 4 of penaeidin class 3 from the Atlantic shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus, by native ligation using three peptide segments. Our synthesis approach led to the discovery of an irreversible side reaction that was successfully suppressed, a discovery, which has particular relevance to the synthesis of cysteine-rich peptides. The antimicrobial activity of full-length penaeidin and the N-terminal proline-rich domain of this isoform were compared with the corresponding peptides of penaeidin class 4 isoform 1 using a wide range of bacteria and fungi. New aspects of penaeidin function are reported that include activity against fungi of the phylum Basidiomycota (Cryptococcus strains), activity against fungi that are pathogenic to humans and effectiveness in the context of antibiotic resistance mechanisms (Cryptococcus and Candida spp.). The proline-rich domain of penaeidin class 4 shows the highest relative antimicrobial activity, while exhibiting no cytotoxicity to human monocytes, and therefore stands out as a potential peptide therapeutic.
Chemical Biology & Drug Design 09/2006; 68(2):120-7. · 2.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) is a highly pathogenic and prevalent virus affecting crustacea. A number of WSSV envelope proteins, including vp28, have been proposed to be involved in viral infectivity based on the ability of specific antibodies to attenuate WSSV-induced mortality in vivo. In the present study, a series of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies targeting vp28 were tested for their ability to neutralize WSSV infectivity, with the purpose of identifying epitopes potentially involved in vp28-mediated infection of shrimp. Surprisingly, when used as protein A-purified immunoglobulin, none of the antibodies tested were capable of inhibiting WSSV infectivity. This included one polyclonal preparation that has been previously shown to inactivate WSSV, when used as whole rabbit serum. Moreover, strong inactivation of WSSV by some rabbit sera was observed, in a manner independent of anti-vp28 antibodies. These results underscore the problems associated with using heterogeneous reagents (e.g. whole rabbit antiserum) in viral neutralization experiments aimed at defining proteins involved in infection by WSSV. In light of this, the potential of anti-vp28 antibodies to specifically neutralize WSSV should be reconsidered.
Virus Research 07/2006; 118(1-2):55-61. · 2.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Penaeidins are a family of shrimp antimicrobial peptides that have a unique molecular structure consisting of a highly conserved leader peptide followed by an N-terminal proline-rich domain and a C-terminal cysteine-rich domain. Three distinct classes of penaeidins, named PEN2, PEN3, and PEN4, are expressed in the hemocytes of the Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. Multiple isoforms, generated by substitutions and deletions within the proline and cysteine-rich domains, have been reported at the mRNA level for all three classes of penaeidins suggesting that this is a highly diverse gene family; however, the genetic mechanisms by which sequence variability in the penaeidin gene family is generated are unknown. The present study examines the genomic sources for both class and isoform diversity in the penaeidin family. We show that each penaeidin class is encoded by a unique gene and that isoform diversity is generated by polymorphism within each penaeidin gene locus. Furthermore, the genomic regions upstream of each penaeidin gene were partially characterized and found to drive transcription.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antimicrobial peptides play a major role in innate immunity. The penaeidins, initially characterized from the shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, are a family of antimicrobial peptides that appear to be expressed in all penaeid shrimps. As of recent, a large number of penaeid nucleotide sequences have been identified from a variety of penaeid shrimp species and these sequences currently reside in several databases under unique identifiers with no nomenclatural continuity. To facilitate research in this field and avoid potential confusion due to a diverse number of nomenclatural designations, we have made a systematic effort to collect, analyse, and classify all the penaeidin sequences available in every database. We have identified a common penaeidin signature and subsequently established a classification based on amino acid sequences. In order to clarify the naming process, we have introduced a 'penaeidin nomenclature' that can be applied to all extant and future penaeidins. A specialized database, PenBase, which is freely available at , has been developed for the penaeidin family of antimicrobial peptides, to provide comprehensive information about their properties, diversity and nomenclature.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large-insert genomic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries of two culturally and economically important oyster species, Crassostrea virginica and C. gigas, have been developed as part of an international effort to develop tools and reagents that will advance our ability to conduct genetic and genomic research. A total of 73,728 C. gigas clones with an average insert size of 152 kb were picked and arrayed representing an 11.8-fold genome coverage. A total of 55,296 clones with an average insert size of 150 kb were picked and arrayed for C. virginica, also representing an 11.8-fold genome coverage. The C. gigas and C. virginica libraries were screened with probes derived from selected oyster genes using high-density BAC colony filter arrays. The probes identified 4 to 25 clones per gene for C. virginica and 5 to 50 clones per gene for C. gigas. We conducted a preliminary analysis of genetic polymorphism represented in the C. gigas library. The results suggest that the degree of divergence among similar sequences is highly variable and concentrated in intronic regions. Evidence supporting allelic polymorphism is reported for two genes and allelic and/or locus specific polymorphism for several others. Classical inheritance studies are needed to confirm the nature of these polymorphisms. The oyster BAC libraries are publicly available to the research community on a cost-recovery basis at (www.genome.clemson.edu).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a common by-product of viral infections and a potent inducer of innate antiviral immune responses in vertebrates. In the marine shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, innate antiviral immunity is also induced by dsRNA in a sequence-independent manner. In this study, the hypothesis that dsRNA can evoke not only innate antiviral immunity but also a sequence-specific antiviral response in shrimp was tested. It was found that viral sequence-specific dsRNA affords potent antiviral immunity in vivo, implying the involvement of RNA interference (RNAi)-like mechanisms in the antiviral response of the shrimp. Consistent with the activation of RNAi by virus-specific dsRNA, endogenous shrimp genes could be silenced in a systemic fashion by the administration of cognate long dsRNA. While innate antiviral immunity, sequence-dependent antiviral protection, and gene silencing could all be induced by injection of long dsRNA molecules, injection of short interfering RNAs failed to induce similar responses, suggesting a size requirement for extracellular dsRNA to engage antiviral mechanisms and gene silencing. We propose a model of antiviral immunity in shrimp by which viral dsRNA engages not only innate immune pathways but also an RNAi-like mechanism to induce potent antiviral responses in vivo.
Journal of Virology 12/2005; 79(21):13561-71. · 5.08 Impact Factor